EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view.
QUESTION: I have a dating question. If all women and men are flawed, then how do we know if dating someone is a good or bad idea? Aside from prayer, I mean. Do we just accept/tolerate each other? And what about each other's struggles with sin? For example, if everyone faces sexual temptations, then how does dating work? And would it be a better idea to not get into a relationship in the first place with someone who struggles with sexual sin/immorality?
All men and women are flawed (unless someone has information saying otherwise).
Given that fact, a societal misnomer was created by the Hollywood industry in 1996 - men and women need each other to “complete” themselves. Thank you, Jerry Maguire.
With the percentage of unsuccessful marriages hovering below fifty percent, it goes to show we are either terrible at finding someone to “complete us” or we should probably seek first to be more complete prior to entering into a relationship.
I favor the latter.
Why is it you want to be in a relationship?
Oftentimes, we assume everyone wants the same thing out of the relationship, but truth be told, some may be seeking something totally different. The “DTR” (define the relationship) talk is often avoided until later in the relationship when in fact it would be better to know what each person is wanting (or not) early on.
As for knowing if dating someone is a good or bad idea, I would use my “dating equation.” Does the sum of the two of you in a relationship equal to more or less than two? In other words, does the relationship make both of you better or worse?
Do not cause anyone to stumble (1 Corinthians 10:32).
If the one you are dating is causing you to stumble, act upon your temptations, or do things you know you shouldn’t, dating that person probably isn’t a wise choice.
If the other person brings out the worst in you, the relationship probably won’t last.
If either of you don't encourage the other's walk with the Lord, what’s the purpose of the relationship in God’s eyes?
As flawed individuals, we all struggle with something – sexual temptation, greed, lust, pride, control, etc. If we choose to enter into a relationship, it should be one which brings us closer to God, not one that separates us.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
First, you seek God in your own life to see if you are ready to date and then whom to date. All relationships start with our own relationship with God. As we grow and mature, God gives us direction not only in our own behavior but also in what you would want in someone else.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
As far as differences go, and what you should tolerate, it comes down to whether those differences are sinful issues (such a someone who lies or manipulates, has major anger, or can't seem to stop spending money). But if the differences are simply personality, then it’s a matter of what you are willing to tolerate. For myself knowing the person as a friend first has greatly helped in knowing as much about them as possible. This way, if some of their annoying habits (such as smacking their food, driving too close to someone in front of them or biting their nails) bother me, then I know it could bother me in a dating relationship. I have to ask myself if, because they are not sin issues (those could be a problem), then - are they really deal breakers? You will never love everything about another person, but you can learn to tolerate as they are also tolerating your annoying habits. Oh and one big thing, as you grow in your love for another person, you will want to treat them like you would want to be treated. So if you know they hate it when you smack your food, then you will want to stop it!
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2).
Now, regarding sexual sin. If you are breathing you are struggling with sexual sin for the most part. Again, depending on your maturity, some singles are better at handling sexual temptation. They have learned to stay away from certain TV shows, movies and/or read books. They have learned to protect their relationships by leaving the blinds up, never going into each other's bedrooms, leaving the door open, etc. What is needed here, like in all relationships, is communication. The more you talk about everything (as needed) the better the relationship. Many years ago I was in a serious relationship. We were on our knees praying as much as we were kissing. It was hard, because we did want each other sexually, but knew we wanted what God wanted more. We talked about our physical attraction, our temptation and how to handle it. This open and honest approached kept us from falling into sexual sin.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
Now, on a deeper issue, if the other person tells you they are struggling with a porn addiction, or the last relationship they were in they were having sex, they may not be at a place that is ready for a Christian dating relationship. As their friend, encourage them to get some counseling as needed. Ask some harder questions to see what they believe about God and his desire for us to avoid sex outside of marriage, etc. God gives us all wisdom so seek him in all things including those you desire to date towards marriage.
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is ... Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is also the author of three books.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
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Publication date: March 27, 2014
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